What is a Solar Flare? How does it impact Earth (NASA)
A solar flare is an intense release of energy from the sun's surface-a giant explosion. A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation, or light, on the Sun, says US space agency NASA. (NASA)
Flares are our solar system's most powerful explosive events – the most powerful flares have the energy equivalent of a billion hydrogen bombs. (NASA)
This is enough energy to power the whole world for 20,000 years. (NASA)
Sun is magnetically charged and solar flares are explosions that are caused by tangles in magnetic field lines on the sun's surface.
NASA says that light only takes about 8 minutes to travel from the Sun to Earth, so that’s how long it would take the energy from a flare to reach our planet.
They are differentiated based on size. The smallest is dubbed as A-class followed by B, C, M and at last X. (NASA)
The X-type of solar flares can create loops 100 times larger than Earth. (NASA)
M-class and X-class can release so much energy that they can interfere with radio communication satellites in Earth's orbit. (Pixabay)
However, the Earth's atmosphere protects us from the harmful effects of solar flares as it absorbs almost all the impact most of the time. When a really powerful solar flare hits, then some of the energy reaches Earth. (Pixabay)
The Sun goes through various stages of volatility and it reaches its peak half-way through its 11-year cycle called the solar maximum. (Pixabay)
NASA monitors these solar flares constantly as they spark geomagnetic storms on Earth and these have the potential of causing power grid failure and even even interfere with Internet and phones. (Pixabay)